The case of the Choo Choo Boo Boo on the Meth Express
From WRIL - The Big One -
On Saturday evening November 11, 2023, during pre-parade festivities in Tazewell a local participant was arrested. The “conductor”/operator of the children’s train was seen by several people operating in an unsafe and erratic manner which gained the attention of local Tazewell officers providing a security detail at the event.
The train was stopped by Officer Dylan Keck and the operator, later identified as 50-year-old Henry Meade, was told to exit the engine. Visibly unsteady on his feet, Meade was instructed to proceed a short distance away from the train, where he was questioned. At one point Meade was seen tossing a prescription bottle toward other officers on scene.
Moving him to a less congested area of the street, Officer Keck then administered standard field sobriety tests which determined that Meade was manifestly under the influence of an intoxicant.
Henry Meade was taken into custody and a search incident to arrest revealed a syringe, Methamphetamine, Gabapentin, and Suboxone. He was lodged in the Claiborne County Jail charged with DUI, possession of Methamphetamine, possession of schedule 3, possession of schedule 5, possession of drug paraphernalia, and implied consent.
Also assisting on scene was the remainder of the Tazewell officers on duty.
Police Chief Jeremy Myers and Mayor Bill Fannon addressed the incident in a press release:
"Tazewell wishes to address the recent arrest of a vendor during the Christmas Tractor Parade held November 11, 2023. The arrested individual faces charges of drug possession and driving under the influence.
It is important to clarify that vendor hiring is not under the city's jurisdiction. Vendors are independently contracted, and their selection is not managed by the city. Despite this, the Tazewell Police Department responded swiftly to the incident, ensuring the safety of event attendees.
The rapid action taken by our law enforcement underscores our commitment to public safety. It is Important to note that in a 1/8 mile radius on Main Street during the event we had 14 police officers on foot patrol for several thousands attendees. Public safety is paramount on any day at any time and this event was no different.
It is unfortunate but the police officers did their job and protected everyone involved."